Next Year: Visiting Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh

After defending my dissertation on June 03, I took a short trip to visit one of my close friends from university. I spent a week volunteering at the Hog Island Audubon Camp on the coast of Maine:

Hog Island Audubon Camp

On a day-to-day basis, this entailed washing pots, cleaning armloads of kale, sweeping cabins, watching my boss friend run a tight ship in the kitchen, and learning how to identify guillemots.


Guillemots are easy to identify because they have bright red feet and are shaped like footballs.

I should perhaps clarify that I did not retreat to Maine due to a disastrous defense experience. Defending went off without a hitch, though those few days were a blur of collecting Spanish committee members from airports, triple-checking the projector in the room I booked, scrambling to get signatures, and handling the logistics of Skyping in a professor from California. I don’t remember much of the talk itself, but a lot of my friends and colleagues attended and no one threw rotten vegetables, so I assume it went well.

After returning from Maine I spent two weeks knee-deep in revisions. None of them were substantive, but I dedicated many hours to dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s (e.g. carefully combing through my references), and on June 30 I finally, officially submitted my dissertation. Which means I am now officially Dr. Beck!

This also means that I can reveal what I will be up to next year – I’m excited to announce that I will be a visiting scholar at the Center for Comparative Archaeology at the University of Pittsburgh for 2016-2017.

Jess Beck – University of Pittsburgh

At Pittsburgh I’ll spend my time working on several publications borne out of my dissertation research. I’ll also have the opportunity to co-teach a graduate seminar on bioarchaeological approaches to inequality with Professor Elizabeth Arkush, which I’m very excited to put together soon – I’ll post the syllabus, or the first portion of it, once it’s finalized in the next few weeks.

For now, back to the arduous process of packing up seven years of my life, and asking the age-old academic question – “How on earth did I accumulate so many books?”

Image Credits: Guillemot photo from, here. Photograph of my title slide courtesy of Amy Pistone.

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12 Responses to Next Year: Visiting Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh

  1. Big congrats, Jess, on defending and on the new position! Looking forward to reading about your next research adventures. 🙂


    • JB says:

      Thanks Kristina! This October I’m heading to Romania to start getting a new mortuary field project off of the ground, so I’ll be sure to keep you posted.


  2. grakita says:

    Congratulation on both the successful defense and your Visiting Scholarship post!


  3. Congratulations Jess! You definitely deserve a beer or two after that! Looking forward to reading your posts about researching and teaching at Pittsburgh, and I’ll look forward to hearing about the Romanian field project.


    • JB says:

      Thanks David! I’m really excited about my upcoming year. Are you planning on attending anymore conferences stateside any time soon?


      • sadly not! I’m currently just about to write an abstract for a proposed article and then I need to finish an outstanding osteological report for a local unit. I can feel the lure of academia again though! Are you in Britain any time soon?


      • JB says:

        Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be in the UK anytime soon. I’ll let you know if plans change. Also, let me know when that article comes out!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cheers! I will do, the abstract will have to be accepted first. That book chapter I’ve written should be out end of August, I’ll let you know about that!


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